Can a product with extraordinary technological functions make record sales the moment it is released? For many companies whose sales have suffered due to poor product design, regardless of their amazing technological skills, Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy(Former Korea's Ministry of Knowledge Economy)instituted the "Design Skills Development Plan". Through this program, as a way to help them develop their design skills, the ministry invested in capable small and medium sized enterprises that lacked the design skills to succeed in the global market. The hope is that these companies will develop a competitive edge in the global market through improved product design. Let's take a look at a few companies who have benefited the most from this plan.
<Komelon - Tape Measure>
Komelon's tape measures didn't look that much different from the products its competitors offer. Therefore, to differentiate its product from its competitors', Komelon examined the tape measures used on site and created a new look. They adopted a water-drop design to emphasize the tape measures' rustproof property and small magnets were attached to the tip of the tape measure for convenience and efficiency of use. Besides these simple functional design changes, Komelon made tape measures in different colors, such as pastel colors as shown in the picture above, to better appeal to customers.
For its "magnetic end hook" tape measure, Komelon invested KRW 220 million in design development, and their sales leaped from KRW 15.4 billion to KRW 21.5 billion. They filed 89 applications for industrial property rights for 89 patents and had 71 of them registered. Komelon also received the iF Design Product Award, the Industrial Design Excellence and Venture Design Award, and ranked third in the world for tape measure brand awareness.
<Dae Yang D&T - Door Lock>
Unlike the elaborate and complicated door locks of the past, Dae Yang created a design that would go well with any type of door. The design was simple, and a protective cover for the keypad and main buttons was added. Also, iron die casting was used for the exterior design, providing customers with confidence that it would be able to withstand shock. Besides the changes in design, Dae Yang also installed a cutting-edge audio guide system to enhance its image as a technologically advanced company.
Before the design improvements, Dae Yang's sales profits were KRW 11 billion, but afterwards, profits increased to KRW 11.9 billion. Currently, door lock functions are improving, and the market is expanding. As the demand for new and replacement door locks increases, we expect Dae Yang's sales to continue its upward trend.
<A.N.S. Development Co. – Automatic Umbrella Wrapper>
Traditionally, automatic umbrella wrappers have a sturdy outer case made of steel. They are rectangular in shape, looking like lumps of metal that clash with their immediate surroundings and the buildings they are placed by, but all of that has changed. A.N.S. Development Co. has created a highly durable automatic umbrella wrapper with soft lines and curves, which are more pleasing to the eye. The product was designed to project a more luxurious image and to maximize user convenience.
While designing the automatic umbrella wrapper, A.N.S. Development Co'.s focus was on "streamlining", using a rainbow as inspiration. By using black, which goes well with stainless steel, they devised a simple but luxurious design. The classy design made it not just a simple automatic umbrella wrapper, but a part of the interior decoration.
Before receiving the design skill development assistance, A.N.S. Development Co'.s sales were a meager KRW 900 million in 2005, but then increased more than four times to KRW 4 billion. Its share in the foreign market was only 2.8%, but now has grown seven times to 20%.
<HIMS Korea – Hansone>
The Hansone, developed by HIMS Korea, is a Braille information instrument with a Braille keyboard and Braille cells. Simply put, it is a portable Braille computer that allows access to education and rehabilitation information for the visually impaired. As an assistive technological device, Hansone was developed to improve the quality of life for the visually impaired and to help them lead their lives as successful members of society. With a plain step-type structure and hexagonal design, it had a relatively cheap and inferior appearance compared to the competition's products.
To better compete in the market, HIMS Korea analyzed competing products and switched its focus to improve Hansone's design by placing parts while considering how it would affect its appearance. The outer case features rounded edges, which follows the global trend in design, and the placement of buttons, as well as its general form, was greatly improved. This has given it the edge it needed to recently surpass its competition.
Small and medium sized companies put all their effort into developing technology, so it's difficult for them to focus on other issues, such as design. To help these companies with that challenge, very few of which employ designers or have design teams, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy has continued providing assistance through the Design Skill Development Program since 2005. As a result, many companies have been able to develop products that were not only technologically advanced but also marvelously designed. These enhancements in product design have greatly contributed to increases in company profits. We look forward to more and more companies thriving in the global market with the support of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Source : www.advancedtechnolog...
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